Rochester schools shut down, residents told to boil water after ‘adult male’ body found in

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Rochester schools shut down Wednesday and residents were warned to boil their water after a body was found in the city’s reservoir.

Workers with the city’s Bureau of Water discovered the adult man around 8 a.m. Tuesday during their morning checks of the Highland Park Reservoir, officials said.

The reservoir was immediately disconnected from the public water supply and a plan was launched to drain the 26 million-gallon body of water.

A man’s body was found in the Highland Park Reservoir Tuesday morning. Tina MacIntyre-Yee/Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK

“This is a very very sad situation. But it compounds in that being that this happened near our water supply. It’s important that we exercise this abundance of caution in terms of this boil water advisory,” Mayor Malik Evans said.

The body was recovered by a police SCUBA team and has been turned over to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office for identification.

Officials have only described the individual as an “adult male.”

Police are combing through security footage to uncover how the man wound up in the reservoir, and potentially find out how he died.

It is not clear how long the body had been in the water, but Rochester officials emphasized that the reservoir “is inspected daily, and water quality is monitored continuously.”

The city issued a water boil advisory for a large swath of Rochester. WHEC

Although initial water testing done by the city indicates that the drinking water was not contaminated, the Bureau of Water plans to continue monitoring the presence of bacterial microbes, which could cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches and other symptoms.

“We can’t say, ‘Yes it’s absolutely clean.’ We think so with all the initial tests, but we have to make sure that the public is safe,” said Starr O’Neil of the Monroe County Department of Health.

“Hence the abundance of caution with this boil water notice.”

The identity of the man, and how he ended up in the reservoir, is still under investigation. WHEC

A boil water advisory was issued for a large swath of the city, forcing the Rochester City School District to shut down after-school activities Tuesday and classes Wednesday.

The reservoir will be out of service until it has been fully drained and cleaned, which is expected to take roughly eight weeks.

Rochester is using two other nearby reservoirs in the meantime, but has also set up distribution centers for bottled water.

Residents are urged to bring their tap water to a roiling boil for one minute before use.

The sanitized water should be used for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth, and preparing food until further notice.

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